American Airlines 911 Pilot Denied
Burial At Arlington Cemetery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The pilot of an American Airlines plane that hijackers crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11 will not be allowed a military burial at Arlington National Cemetery, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The Army and the cemetery, the United States' premier military burial ground, have ruled that Capt. Charles Burlingame III was not eligible for internment because he was 52 when he died, The Washington Post reported. According to the cemetery's strict criteria, retired reservists must turn 60 before admission to Arlington.
Burlingame landed F-4 Phantom jet fighters on aircraft carriers for eight years while in the Navy and served in the Naval Reserve for 17 years. President Bush has said that he and others who died in the attacks in New York and Washington were victims of war.
"My brother was one of thousands who perished on that day, and we'll never know what happened on that airplane," Debra Burlingame of Los Angeles told the Post. "But it's not very difficult to see that he had an active, up-close-and-personal, probably hand-to-hand confrontation with one or more knife-wielding terrorists.
"It was no different than if he were in combat. Not only is he a hero, I think he should get the Purple Heart."
The medal would make Burlingame eligible for burial at Arlington, the paper said.
The FBI has told his widow that Burlingame died of injuries sustained before the plane hit the Pentagon, indicating he was killed in a struggle, according to the Post.
An Army spokesman, Col. Jim Allen, told the newspaper officials have to abide by Arlington's strict rules because space there is limited.

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